I think the results from the Iowa caucuses are the best outcome our country could have hoped for. For both parties, there was no clear winner. Ironically, this means completely opposite things for the two parties.
On the Republican side, Ted Cruz pulled a surprise upset over Donald Trump, but Cruz is the evangelical candidate in a state that loves evangelicals (in 2012 Santorum won, in 2008 it was Huckabee). This means that the Republican candidates will continue to attack each other, as they have been doing with gusto for the last few weeks.
On the Democratic side, there was a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But unlike in the GOP, this means that the two candidates will get closer together. Clinton cannot ignore Sanders and his unabashed progressive policies, so she will move back to the center.
An early coronation of Clinton would have been bad for the country, not to mention Clinton’s chances in the general election. If her only competition was from the right, she would have triangulated that way. But as the New Yorker put it “for Clinton to unite her party and galvanize it for what could be a tough fight in the fall, she needs to find some way to appeal to younger voters, who have fastened onto Sanders’s anti-establishment message.” Attacking their candidate (or his policies) won’t work, and she knows it.
And lastly, it is hilarious looking at the response from the pundits today, who are all over the map. The New York Times claims that a virtual tie for Clinton is a win for her campaign. While NBC is claiming that it is a loss. The takeaway from all this is that if nothing else, you can’t believe the pundits (even me!), polls mean almost nothing (even the entrance polls to the caucuses showed Trump with a significant lead), and that politics in America has changed, and will continue to change.